Losing trees: Pyracantha problems persist

I’m resigned to lose this tree, but I’m not giving up just yet.  I have unscientifically diagnosed ithwith Fusarium wilt, and have been treating it with MycoStop.  The left trunk died last year, and the fungicide treatments seem to have only slowed down the advancement.  The right side is now showing symptoms too; mostly on the lowest back branch.

But, some upper branches are showing the telltale signs of yellowing leaf veins:

So, another round of branch removal…

And it still looks nice from a distance.  Maybe I’ll get another year or two to enjoy it:


Fall repotting of a Chojubai Quince

If you haven’t seen a chojubai Quince in person, their tiny scale may come as a surprise.  Leaves are the size of Chinese elm, even Seiju elm.  They grow strongly in the summer, and always seem to have a few flowers opening.  In the fall, the flower production really picks up and adds some nice color to the bench:

This summer, I noticed this one was becoming a bit anemic, with pale foliage and weak growth.  They always seem to slow down vegetative growth in mid summer, but this one started to concern me:

As I thought back, I couldn’t remember repotting it since at least 2014.  Michael Hagedorn recommends fall repotting for Chojubai, and while I do not like fall repotting, he really knows his stuff, so I thought I’d give it a try.  In late September, I combed out the soil, pruned the roots back by a third and replaced the soil, using akadama, lava, and pumice in equal proportions.

Before repotting:


And less than a month later, the color and vigor is already noticeably improved:

Pot quiz:  who made it?
Answer: Bigei.  Did you get it right?  His rich, chocolate, burnished clays are unmistakable.

Ilex Serrata

I bought 3 ilex serrata (Japanese Winterberry, or deciduous holly) from Brent back around 2009-2010 in 2 3/4″ pots.  They were the size of matchsticks if I recall.  They went in the ground, and over time I lost a couple, but managed to keep one going.  The earliest photo I could find was this one from 2013.

When we moved in 2015, I dug up everything in that bed, and this ilex went into a 16″ Anderson flat with minimal root work, to keep it growing strong:

2 growing seasons later, in summer 2017, here is how it looked:

I had a very specific vision for this tree, a fat little multi-trunked tree; somewhere around 18″ tall and 20″ wide; like these examples:

Lately, I have been dabbling into shohin-sized trees; 8″.  I want to keep both options open.  And since this variety is rare, I decided to layer the top as well.  In May, it appeared the layer was going to fail, but I left it in place.  In mid-June I moved the tree up to get a closer look and it seemed to be making some progress:

I scraped the white tissue back off the girdle to prevent bridging, and wrapped it back up.  Maybe it will work after all…

So instead of giving up and chopping, I did a little light pruning down low, and returned this one back to its growing site.  If I go the shohin route, the trunk definitely needs more taper than this currently has:

A few weeks after recutting the callus, the entire top died back, so the next step was defined.  In the spring, I’ll repot it and change the planting angle a little in hopes of creating a little movement.  Until next spring…